Spring ’98 Notes

Hearing “Hold Me Jesus” opened a memory floodgate. On September 19, 1997, I lost a mentor, philospher, inspirator, and friend, though I never met him. Richard Wayne Mullins met his Father and left us behind, but thank God he left a legacy of music. When I heard about his death, I don’t think I fully appreciated the news, for I was undergoing a crisis of my own at that time. Now, six months later, the thought of never hearing a new song from him again leaves a void in my aching heart.

Thoughts from the Other Side of the Jordan

By the banks of Jordan I gaze
wondering, part to myself, part
out loud peering through the thick haze
out of sight, but I know you are there

I wish I knew, how does it feel?
You wanted to go out like Elijah
and you did, but my heart must heal
I know there, you praise Jehovah

Did they dress you like a pauper?
Did they dine you like a prince?
Are you lying with your fathers?
Doesn’t matter to you, I guess.

I’ll bet you’re hearing music now
some kind of music it must be
All I hear is silence, shadow
sudden stillness, by the Jordan.

So then, it was your time to roll
and while we’re still here we praise God
as he reached down, and embraced your soul
We weep, still selfing from our loss

Your pen may not move here again
But there I’m sure, the choir sings
all learning a new song written
about joy when you beheld the face of God

So I sit here by the Jordan
alone I might sob, but no tears
fall, for I know the end of Man
will come, and we’ll sing together

-Jeff Holland 3/22/98

I almost feel arrogant, writing a poem based on one of Rich’s songs. The song, “Elijah” speaks volumes about Rich’s heart and simply pales my attempts to convey my grief. Thank you, Rich. I hope one day to tell you what you meant to me on the other side of the Jordan.

“It’s me again, God. Thank you for the past three months and the glorious existence you’ve given me. Prepare me for the winds of change which are beginning to blow through my life again and grant me wisdom to choose wisely each step that lay before me. Let it be so.”

My best friend got married today. How about that? I watched with bittersweet joy as he pledged his eternal love to a woman he plans to spend his entire life with. Does it really work that way? Spend your entire life with someone? The whole idea simply places me in awe. I suppose someday, I’ll be in that place, pledging my undying love to someone (sakes, who on earth could it be?), but right now it’s beyond my comprehension. I’ll miss my friend, but he’s not going very far, but he has far more on his mind now. What an exciting time to be alive.

So much has changed since December. I look back on the past as it speeds away from me. Seems to me that I have grown in so many ways, and yet I don’t dare think I’ve made it there yet. The darker days that seemed so near at Christmas are quickly becoming a history and I look back into the days of this winter and they were good.

So many friends appear out of nowhere in the oddest of places. I am amazed at how God moves people into our lives for a time and when their purpose is done, moves them out. Each one has their own special qualities and memories that they have given me and I thank God everyday for the people placed in my life right now. Delay the day that they leave Lord! I want to enjoy their presence a little longer.

I think I’m becoming an existentialist. I said I’d never become a philosopher, because I hate thinking about things that _aren’t there,_ but here I am. So much of what I’ve learned since The Darkest Night of the Year is to just enjoy _being._ The past life can’t be changed for it’s already happend. The future life also can’t be controlled for who says I’ll take another breath in this life. What’s left is the now, enjoy every second of it. Live every moment of it. Now that I prevent the past’s haunts and future’s enticements from delaying me, I see so much more of what goes on around me and how active and vibrant everything is. Why _not_ live today and enjoy it to the fullest? No future day will ever be like it. I think the the existential theme of taking current conditions and learning how to handle them is becoming a prevading theme in the newest work I’m writing, a humorous story based on Rip Van Winkle using fraternity brothers as characters (but I wouldn’t want to tip my hand too much, would I?)

So on this equinox, the day that marks the beginning of a new season, I regretfully release a beautiful past (goodbye cold nights and hot chocolate! Goodbye care-free co-ops!) and look ahead to an uncertain, but no doubt exciting future (greetings volleyball, warm evenings on the porch, new friends, and someone else, maybe?)

Here’s hoping we meet again on the Brightest Day of the Year

Il Est Dans Mon Poche

Here is my fortune
here is my fame
here is my future
it’s in my pocket

and if my fortune
weren’t only lint and small change
wishing in one hand
bird in the other
see which one will take me farthst from here

here is my hopelessness
though Im not helpless
I need a window
that I can climb through

just one small opening
a little lantern to light my way
discovering my hands
catch at the altar
I fall on my face as the words hit my ear

here is my fortune
here is my fame
here is my future
it’s in my pocket
il est dans mon poche

“Il Est Dans Mon Poche” written by Karin Berquist (c) 1992 Scampering Songs Publishing


I’ve never been to Birmingham before, so when the opportunity came, who am I to deny it? After all, one of closest friends lives there now, and any excuse to visit her is enough to send me driving. Knowing my love of the road and welling up with a healthy dose of wanderlust, I was off and gone with my good fraternity brother on the way to the Land of Vulcan.

The journey was far shorter than we imagined! Beautiful mountains rose in the distance and disappeared, but I don’t ever remember crossing over them! Woodland and sparkling lakes sprawled out across our path and captured our attention during the journey. Birmingham is quite the scenic town, at least the parts we visited. Flush against the hills, homes and towns rose around us as we drove in the valleys below.

MARCH 14, 1998
The concert was performed at Wright Center, Samford’s auditorium which seats approx. 1000 plus. The venue was about three-fourths full.

Out of the Grey took the stage first. Christine Dente’s voice was in fine form, if she was a little more daring, she could really have an awesome voice, but she stayed mostly conservative with a sweet swoon and a smile every now and then. Scott played a black acoustic (too far back to see the brand) throwing in some of his trademark tapping on the frets. For some of the songs, he had a nice distortion effect for his acoustic guitar through foot-pedals. Drummer Ken Lewis and Chagall alumnus Wade Jaynes on bass rounded out the stage.

Song list: (not complete or in order!)
Missed the name of the first song, (from their new album?)
Into The Deep(?)
Not A Chance

After their set, Wes King took the stage with an acoustic and played some songs from his solo albums. He threw in a country-twang accent for a shortened version of “I Believe” and somberly explained the story behind “Thought You’d Be Here” as he and his wife waited years before finally having a child. King played alone on stage.

Wes King’s Set List:

I Believe
The Robe
Universe Next Door
Thought You’d Be Here

Third on stage was Phil Keaggy with his Jam-man. After setting up the machine and making a few runs to test the machine, Keaggy launched into his set.

True Believers
Jam in the Pocket
Sign Came Through the Window
Song from _Master and the Musican_ (Deep Calls Unto Deep?)
(maybe one more song here, can’t remember)
Let Everything Else Go

Keaggy was phenomenal, earning applause from the mostly sedate audience during his songs.

After Christine Dente brought her three children onto stage, she introduced a short video by WorldVision, followed by a short intermission.

After intermission, Keaggy, King and Dente took stage for their concert. All of them were in a lighthearted, joking mood throughout the concert and had a _lot_ of energy, considering they are winding down a long tour. Keaggy played little rifts while Dente spoke. At one time, Dente stopped and said “Will you stop that? I’m trying to speak!” As Scott started to speak again, the rift played again, this time backwards through the Jam-Man and we all got a good laugh. Keaggy held up his hands with a look of “It wasn’t me!” Dente looked up and said something like “Keaggy fans, please don’t send me hate mail. I really do love the guy, but doesn’t that drive you crazy?” Dente and Keaggy really enjoyed playing together, while Wes King often looked like he was concentrating hard to keep up. Ken Smith and Wade Jaynes remained in the background for the show.

King played a Zion Telecaster electric. Keaggy alternated between a Zion (strat?) and his Parker Fly. Dente played his black acoustic guitar throughout the set.

Set list:
Watch My Back
Isle Of Skye
Dente played rhythm on his guitar using pencils.
“I recommend only No. 2’s for this.” he says.
This was written by Wes King. “We were going to
call these songs Instrumental #1 and #2 and so on,
but Phil had some experience naming instrumentals.”
More To Be Revealed
Angel Treads
Everyone played acoustic guitar on this one.
Budapest Control
River Of Life
Something, Somewhere
Hold Me Jesus

Lots of improv and soloing, often they would signal to the rhythm section and just jam and then nod again when it was time to wrap it up. Their final song was a cover of Rich Mullin’s song, “Hold Me Jesus”

A great concert with a really relaxed and humorous attitude. Wes, Phil, and Scott were a lot of fun to watch as they spent the entire night cutting up and jamming. Sometimes those execs at record companies _do_ get good ideas!